We live in a world that can often feel so binary. More and more it feels like we must choose side A or side B. And while that might sometimes be true, there are also times we forget there’s a third option. In my daily interactions with clients, I often see the same situation unfold in research: it’s either a 3-day qualitative bulletin board or a 12-month panel with thousands of participants that’s priced slightly less than a 2-bedroom apartment in San Francisco.
I have a secret to share: there’s a third option.
They’re called Lean Communities, because they’re typically a little smaller and nimbler than a traditional community. Did I mention the price tag is a lot smaller, too? It’s now possible for everyone, even smaller agencies and independent moderators, to leverage the same type of longer-term, more robust panel-style research that’s historically been out of reach.
Let me give you an example of how a shorter Lean Community could play out over the course of 60 or 90 days:
- You recruit 75 participants to be a part of your panel.
- You begin by running an initial poll with all your participants to gather broad insights, followed by a second, more narrowed, poll.
- From there, you gather the insights gained from the polls, and select 25 panelists to participate in a group discussion.
- You invite another 25 panelists to complete a 5-day mobile ethnography.
- You discover 4 of your panelists in the group discussion are giving you really good insights, and you’d love to go a little more in-depth with them, so you invite them to join you in a live recorded video chat.
- Based upon all of the insights gathered, you make some final changes to your concepts and do a last round of polling to gauge consensus.
You now have a much more meaningful and clearer story to tell your client, and you did it all for the same cost as just a few standard discussion boards. Perhaps just as importantly, you now have a panel, catered specifically for your client that you can tap into moving forward. This solution has the ability to help you retain clients and win continual projects—helping you move away from the ad-hoc model of winning RFPs and towards a long-term relationship with perpetual revenue.